I'm horribly guilty of cancelling plans when I see an unfavorable weather forecast (especially if we are going into the backcountry and planning to sleep in a tent without shelter or retreat from the wet conditions.) Sometimes though, you have friends counting on you, you're already committed, and there's nothing you can do but suck it up and make the most of the crappy weather ahead.
|Give a kid an umbrella and hiking is suddenly the "most fun" thing ever!|
We've been quite lucky over the last few years of camping and haven't had too many "truly craptacular" weekends (probably because we cut our losses in advance and know when to stay home.) We have learned a few things though about how to make the most of a "less than ideal" weekend at camp.
Tips and Trips for Making the Most of a Wet Weekend at Camp
Do fun things to take your mind off the cool or wet weather and try to stay busy rather than just hanging out at camp. I know many families like to "relax" when camping but it's not really much fun to sit around in the rain "chilling".
When it's cool and overcast it's even more important to stay busy and occupied rather than just hanging out at camp trying to keep spirits up. Below are my favourite things to do at camp when temps. just aren't super pleasant:
|This is a great way to spend a rainy day at camp|
2. Seek Indoor Fun. Find an indoor leisure centre, movie theatre, playground, or museum in a nearby town or city. We've discovered some great indoor water parks and pools while camping in the rain.
3. Have a movie party complete with tons of snacks and popcorn. Thanks to portable DVD players and tablets, this is easy to plan at the campground and gives the kids a break from playing outside in cold temperatures.
4. Games and Cards! Pull out the board games and cards, and set up a dry spot to play with a tarp or screen tent over a picnic table.
5. Pull out the "crazy." Plan some old fashioned children's games (think musical chairs with lawn chairs, tug of war, a three-legged race, etc.
|Old fashioned Camp Games|
Alternately, crank the tunes and have a dance party in the campsite, go on a bike ride and look for the biggest puddles to ride through, plan a scavenger hunt, or head to the beach and swim in the rain.
What you're looking for here is FUN, CRAZY, and SILLY. Anything to distract the kids.
6. Do things that aren't overly affected by inclement weather. Hike low elevation forest trails, canyons and interpretive trails, bike paved trails that won't get muddy, go swimming or canoeing - you're wet already, or try something new like geocaching or disc golf (offered in many campgrounds.)
|You'd never know it was cool or less than ideal here.|
|It was cool but we still had fun biking here|
8. Follow your Passions. Do things you really love so you won't notice the bad weather so much. For us, that would be biking and we are generally happy on our bikes regardless of the weather.
Do outdoor activities between showers
Be prepared with lunches and snacks packed up, gear loaded in the vehicle if need be, and be ready to jump the second you see it stop raining. You might only have a one or two hour break from showers so get out while you can. The trails will smell amazing after the fresh rain and you'll find lots of puddles to stomp in. This is the best time to go for a bike ride or a short nature hike.
|The rain stopped and we were ready to pounce on the opening|
Accept the Conditions
Play in the mud, stomp in puddles, take a bath in a creek - you're wet and dirty anyway! Embrace the weekend for what it is and challenge yourself to see just how muddy you can get! Hopefully the campground has showers!
|Kids care much less than we do when it's rainy|
Seize the opportunity to visit popular places without the crowds
Water parks, beaches, popular hiking trails or bike trails - all deserted and quiet on rainy days. So get out there and enjoy the solitude. You may get the whole beach to yourself!
|These kids had the beach to themselves on this cool day|
Don't be afraid to change plans
Cross over to a new valley that might have sunnier weather, get a relaxed start and head out Saturday morning instead (one less wet night at camp,) leave early (again, one less soggy night,) OR - if possible, reschedule and try again for a nicer weekend (this is especially important if camping with children or friends new to camping.)
|This would have been a good morning to pack up early (yes, that's snow)|
Final thoughts RE Planning Ahead
Sometimes planning ahead is the smartest thing you can do. Here are just a few final suggestions that could set you up for success in the event it rains while you are camping.
- Always invite some crazy fun friends to go with! (everything's better with friends.)
- Look for campgrounds that have cook shelters with indoor stoves if camping early in the season (this should be imperative for the May long weekend!)
- Have a back up plan (if possible, have alternate plans for bigger trips like backpacking when you may not want to go in the rain)
- Try to make last minute plans when possible early in the season. (I still haven't booked sites yet for my June backpacking trip and won't till I see a long range weather forecast!)
- Leave some open weekends later in the summer for trips that need to be rescheduled. (something we finally decided to do this year!)
|Always invite fun people to go camping with|
Outdoor Play Ideas and Tips for Rainy Days - Rain or Shine Mamma
Rainy Day Fun - Painting with Mud - Rain or Shine Mamma
10 Things to do Outside on a Rainy Day - Bring the Kids
Rainy Days Made Fun - Campers Village
Rainy Day Hike - Walk Simply